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Electric Truck Startup Bollinger Motors Awarded U.S. Patent for its Radical Passthrough & ‘Frunkgate'

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【Summary】Electric truck startup Bollinger Motors was awarded a U.S. patent for its radical new passthrough and “frunk” design with a front grill that opens like a conventional pickup truck tailgate. The “Frunkgate” refers to the fold-down portion on the front of the truck, similar to a tailgate and it's built into the Bollinger Motors B1 SUV and B2 pickup trucks.

FutureCar Staff    Jun 03, 2020 11:10 AM PT
Electric Truck Startup Bollinger Motors Awarded U.S. Patent for its Radical Passthrough & ‘Frunkgate'
The Bollinger Motors "Frunkgate" opens to create a front to back passthrough for extra long cargo.

Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk popularized the term "frunk" when he referred to the storage compartment or "front trunk" of the Model S sedan, which lacks a combustion engine under the hood. Instead, Tesla engineers turned the underhood space into a front storage compartment. Now electric truck startup Bollinger Motors has taken that idea to the extreme in its new truck and SUV.

Michigan-based Bollinger Motors was granted a U.S. patent for its radical new passthrough and "frunk" design with a front grill that opens like a conventional pickup truck tailgate. The "Frunkgate" refers to the fold-down portion in the front of the truck, similar to a pickup truck's rear tailgate. This unique feature is built into the Bollinger Motors B1 SUV and B2 pickup trucks.

The Frunkgate allows extra long cargo to be loaded through the front of both trucks. Lifting the hood provides even more access to the frunk. 

The patented passthrough runs from all the way the back of the truck to the front completely uninterrupted, creating a long, open cargo space that measures 16 feet long when the tailgate and "frunkgate" are closed. When both gates are open, the passthrough channel can fit cargo nearly 20 feet long, such as lumber, ladders or pipes. The B2 pickup passthrough can fit up to 40 pieces of 2x4 cut lumber.

"The Passthrough and Frunkgate have been among our trucks' most defining features, and were an integral part of our DNA since day one," says CEO, Robert Bollinger. "Our new patent is proof that Bollinger Motors is reinventing trucks from the ground up." 

An additional, lockable door in the passenger cabin is accessible from the front seats. Bollinger says the total storage space in the frunk on both trucks is 8.6 cubic feet, and it contains four electrical outlets, so it's ideal for storing and charging electric power tools. 

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The Bollinger Motors "Frunkgate" viewed from the front.

Bollinger designed its electric trucks to be rugged, utilitarian and highly customizable for many different uses. Unlike the sea of pickups and luxury SUVs filling parking lots across the U.S., Bollinger's fully-electric trucks are designed for serious off-roading and utility. 

Bollinger was able add the front to back passthrough since the electric powertrain and batteries are located under the truck's floor, which opens up the passenger compartment. This allowed the company's engineering team to think outside the box when designing the Bollinger electric trucks.

The Bollinger B1 and B2 sit on a Class-3 electric chassis that the company calls an "E-Chassis." It was designed for commercial applications and versatility for the commercial electric truck market. Class-3 trucks are designated as "medium trucks" and weigh between 10,001-14,000 lbs. Examples of Class-3 trucks are the Ford F-450 pickup and GMC Sierra 3500.

The Bollinger Motors E-Chassis includes a 120 kWh battery pack as standard and features dual motors, all-wheel drive, all-terrain capabilities, as well as a 5,000-lb payload capacity. The electric B2 pickup is rated at 614 horsepower and delivers 668 ft-lb torque.

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The Bollinger Motors B2 fully electric pickup is utilitarian and rugged.

Bollinger Motors was founded in 2015 and is among the new crop of electric truck makers, including Rivian, Lordstown Motors and Nikola Motor Company, that are introducing electric models that promise to be more powerful and versatile than conventional internal combustion engine powered trucks, such as the Ford F-Series pickups, which are currently the best selling trucks in the U.S.

Bollinger aims to take on popular pickups from General Motors, Ford and Ram by offering electric trucks that are more rugged and versatile, much like the original Hummer H1. The company will also be going up against Tesla, which is entering the electric truck segment with its new Cybertruck. 

You won't find metallic paint jobs, leather seats, fancy touchscreen displays or faux luxury interiors in Bollinger's utilitarian trucks. However, you will find a patented passthrough cargo space, which might be one of the most useful features for the truck buyers that Bollinger is targeting.

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